Grand Prix 2017 Monaco Grand Prix Practice, Qualifying & Race Discussion

Monaco. It is the Marmite race of F1. You either love it or hate it and it’s a left over event from YEASTeryear (thank you thank you, I’m here all week, try the chicken). Personally I love it. I love the colours, the walled in racing and the fact it’s a ridiculous place to have a motor race. Those who hate street circuits will grumble about there being no overtaking and I see their point, but the thing about Monaco is that if you do get an overtake its usually spectacular or ends up in a big smash. It’s a quality over quantity situation.

CTA’s most controversial race of all time was the 2011 Monaco Grand Prix. It concluded in an 23 page argument and the banning of at least 3 members(seriously if you have a spare half hour then go into the archives and read it) . Between a three way battle between Vettel, Alonso and Button for the lead, Mclaren rebuilding Hamilton’s car on the grid during a red flag stoppage, Lewis accusing the stewards of racism and poor old Petrov getting flack for ‘feigning injury’ and ruining the race, there was a lot to discuss. If this years race is half as exciting as that one then we’re in for a treat.

2011 was a bad year for Lewis Hamilton but usually he is pretty hot round the principality. Sebastian Vettel on the other hand has not shown great form round the place – with that 2011 race being his only win. Because they are the title contenders you would expect them to be the ones at the front but as this is the great car leveller it could work out differently. Another thing you would expect this year is for this to be a one stop strategy. Track position is key so no one at the front will take too many gambles. Its pretty much a certainty that Hamilton will wait to see his rivals are stopping before he comes in, he’s been burnt by Merc on a tyre strategy like that before. Speaking of which how many times do you think Ricciardo will ask if his tyres are ready on his in lap? Dozens if I was him. Ricciardo is actually my tip for the win. I think he is exceptional round Monaco and will be hungry for a result given Red Bulls poor form so far.

Last year Max Verstappen became the youngest F1 driver ever to hit a wall in every session, before becoming the youngest F1 driver ever to walk back to the pit lane, then the youngest F1 driver ever to walk back in the garage and finally the youngest F1 driver ever to eat a toasted cheese and ham Panini. David Croft described this as the most exciting thing to happen in F1 in decades and Martin Brundle said he wished F1 had 5 more like him…….over footage of Carlos Sainz doing something amazing. In all seriousness though Max needs to dial in this year as this is Red Bulls big chance at race wins.

As I’ve said elsewhere Force India are clearly the 4th best team at the moment and are pushing Red Bull for that third spot. They have a great driver pairing but this is the first time Ocon has ever driven at Monaco so I expect him to be slightly lower down than he has been in the last few rounds. Perez though is always worth a punt for a cheeky podium. Carlos Sainz is also someone who might defy the odds and, depending on which Kvyat turns up, Torro Rosso could have a good day too. Hulkenberg will probably get a solid result. Massa, Stroll and Palmer will all crash out by lap 10, Haas will have brake issues and I suspect Sauber might punch above their weight once again. Ted Kravitz predicted pre-season that Sauber would be plumb last and much to everyones delight they have shown that Ted Kravitz is the plumb and scored some good results. They are taking a lot of risks strategy wise and I expect to hear about them doing something like that this weekend too.

That leaves me with Mclaren. Now its now been talked about much, and might come as a shock to you, but Fernando Alonso will not be driving for Mclaren at Monaco. He’s gone to seek fame and fortune in the US for one week only. That means we get the return of a certain Jenson Button. The race is not far from his house so its an easy one for him to come too. Now if the car keeps going (that’s a big if) then Mclaren might be in a position to do well. They claim their car is one of the best on the grid and the engine is holding them back, well engine power means squat in Monaco so they should be on pace. Button really has nothing to lose, he could pull off a great result and be a hero or crash out on lap 1 and know that in 5 years time people will barely remember he even came in for that race. I hope its the former purely to annoy Mark Webber. It is put your money where your mouth is time for Mclaren though and, having won the biggest idiot award in Spain, Vandorne will be very keen to get a good result.

So you love it or you hate it but we’ll all be watching it.
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2011 was a bad year for Lewis Hamilton but usually he is pretty hot round the principality.

By his standards? I'd have to say no.

He's never won a dry race in Monaco; I appreciate he should have in 2015. His best finish in the dry in Monaco was 2nd - and on each occasion he finished directly behind his team-mate. Vettel and Hamilton both arrive at a circuit where their team-mates (Webber and Rosberg/Alonso) have won more often than they.

Last year, this race seemed to be Red Bull's most competitive (on sheer pace) event. It is already the only circuit Verstappen has started at that he has not scored a point, largely due to him crashing out of each attempt in collisions with Messers Grosjean and Le Mur.

We have our usual Monaco caveats. Williams will be awful. Force India will probably do quite well. Somebody is going to crash at some point across the weekend. Celebrities will love motorsport for the weekend, but somehow manage not to get a ticket for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

And would it not be hilarious if the McLarens have their best race of the season...?
Hamilton's results actually hide his pace round here. He has come a cropper with some unfortunate happenings a lot of times. Not 2011 though, then he was just playing bumper cars.
On the flip side of that, his two wins at Monaco were incredibly fortunate! Big conundrum! I just don't see his strengths as being at the circuits that are one thing or the other (Monaco being all slow, for example).

His best skill seems to be at circuits which require a compromised set-up; getting around some quick curves whilst losing less in the slow corners and the long straights. Those circuits (Austin, Montreal, Shanghai, Abu Dhabi) tend to be his better ones.

I think it might be the standard that Hamilton has to be held to. By his standards he's not quick there, that doesn't mean he's not better than everyone else :p.
I am expecting more cars into the barriers this year because these cars allow drivers to push but Monaco is great because you push hard its the wall or the barriers

I'd be nervous if I was anywhere near poor Stroll at the moment who is out of his depth so far whilst Palmer seems to always have a problem

Williams might be nervous about their chances given they had a poor race in Spain and their reliance on the Mercedes engine will be exposed

The Mclaren could feature in the points but the dark horse could come from Toro Rosso
I love this race. The setting is 1 of the best of the year always has that magic feeling with the parties everywhere & every driver wants to win in monaco. I dont know how drivers mentally do it, as when i race on ps4 i do 25% & threading the needle between the barriers my brain is fried. Also the racing is usually alot better than people give it credit it for. As its given more memorable races than majority of other races last 30 yrs 82 84 92 96 04 08 11 even last yr

On tanagent just watching pointless & they just did 2016 f1 drivers can you believe Max Verstappen was pointless but Rio "duran duran" Harantyo scored points
the beauty of Monaco is nothing happens and then one small mistake the driver is usually in the barriers and it is usually the best drivers that excel

Max Verstappen last year was sent crashing down to Earth after his historic win and found the cost of over pushing. I am expecting people like Stroll to get really punished
I'm expecting Stroll to be awful but have a great weekend at the Azkaban Grand Prix. Circuit there is made for drafting. Proper F3 stuff and should be racing he is more familiar with.

Monaco though? I expect some form of accident involving Palmer or Ericsson going into Casino.
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